Liverpool Reportedly Hopeful of Imminent Transfer Amid Nabil Fekir Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2018

Lyon's French midfielder Nabil Fekir celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Villarreal CF (VCF) on February 15, 2018, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France.  / AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool are reportedly hopeful of completing a new signing imminently amid continued links to Lyon forward Nabil Fekir and Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri

According to Simon Hughes of The Independent, the Reds have intensified their efforts to sign a couple of players to improve their attacking options "with the probability of at least one target being secured inside the next 24 hours increasing dramatically."

It's said that Shaqiri is the "more attainable" of the two players given his £12 million release clause at the Bet365 Stadium.

Shaqiri has also been linked with a move to Liverpool.
Shaqiri has also been linked with a move to Liverpool.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Hughes acknowledged a transfer for the Lyon skipper would be harder to achieve and much more expensive to broker. However, it's said the France international has made it clear he wants to make the move to Anfield and nowhere else.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas believes "a pre-World Cup agreement might be the most profitable way of moving forward because ultimately at this stage Liverpool will have to calculate the potential of summer performance into their offer."

Either way, it appears as though Liverpool's attack will be strengthened ahead of next season. Philip Blundell of The Anfield Wrap believes more depth is crucial:

Philip Blundell @PhilBlundell

But it's a squad game and short of obviously a keeper and maybe a centre back the starting XI is pretty much sorted now. So we really need to lessen the drop off when we lose one of the attackers and this does it.

Shaqiri is a deal more likely to split opinion among supporters, as the Switzerland international was recently part of a Stoke side that was relegated to the Championship.

At times the former Inter Milan and Bayern Munich man cut a frustrated figure as the team toiled. Additionally, he didn't show the type of work rate that is associated with a Jurgen Klopp side.

Even so, in a better team, and with the prospect of challenging for more honours, perhaps the manager could spark even more from him. After all, as these numbers from Squawka Football show, there's no doubt the talent is within the 26-year-old:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Xherdan Shaqiri created 77 chances in the 2017/18 Premier League season; Pascal Groß (82) was the only player outside of the top-six clubs to create more. Still something to offer. https://t.co/ixYs1cZz18

Fekir's arrival would trigger a lot of excitement, as the Lyon man has been one of the best players in French football for a while now.

At Lyon last season he played in support of a centre-forward, with two flying wingers either side of him, and he excelled. 

Last term, Fekir showed he could be productive in the final third:

Goal UK @GoalUK

Lyon's Nabil Fekir in Ligue 1 in 17/18: 👕 Games = 28 ⚽️ Goals = 17 🅰️ Assists = 6 No wonder Liverpool are reportedly looking at him! https://t.co/u8mVeMP8A4

While some have speculated that Fekir will be able to play as part of a midfield three at Anfield, he's yet to operate in that role for club or country. However, he would be adept at filling in for any of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino or Mohamed Salah based on what we've seen from him so far.

Should Fekir and Shaqiri both arrive, Liverpool would suddenly have many quality options in the final third. If they are to mount a serious challenge in the Premier League and potentially in Europe once again, this is an important step for the team to make.